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Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks

Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks

Автором Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

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Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks

Автором Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

оценки:
4/5 (468 оценки)
Длина:
251 pages
3 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 1, 2006
ISBN:
9781603420983
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Both a celebration of the craft and a sourcebook for practical information, Knitting Rules! is a collection of useful advice and emotional support for the avid knitter. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee unravels the mysteries of tangled yarn, confusing patterns, and stubbornly unfinished projects. Daring to question long-standing rules and encouraging crafters to knit in the way that works best for them, this illuminating, liberating, and hilarious look at the world of knitting is full of surprises and delightfully inspiring ideas. 
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 1, 2006
ISBN:
9781603420983
Формат:
Книге

Об авторе

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot, entertains knitters with her unique humor via her popular blog (www.yarnharlot.com) and her best-selling books, Knitting Rules!, At Knit's End, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off.

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Knitting Rules! - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Index

one

What is Knitting and How Does it Get Like This?

IF YOU PICKED UP THIS BOOK, I probably don’t need to convince you that knitting is great. It’s more than possible, however, that you could use a little help explaining to people why you do it, or why you do it so much, or why you can’t stop doing it.

The bare bones of knitting sound simple, and they are; sadly, this is probably the beginning of the confusion between those regular people known as non-knitters, and the enlightened, the extraordinary people we call knitters.

Here’s the whole idea of knitting. One stick holds loops of yarn and a second stick pulls a continuous piece of string through the loops, one by one. Row upon row is accomplished until you have a piece of knitted fabric.

Non-knitters can’t quite get it. You explain the basics of knitting to them, then tell them that you spend all of your money and all of your spare time on this pursuit, and inform them that you bitterly resent any time taken from it by ordinary activities like laundry and employment, and they’ll look at you as if there’s crazy all over you, like plaid on a Scotsman. You can show them all of your yarn (although I don’t recommend this; revealing the size of the stash while you’re trying to convince someone you’re not nuts is counterproductive). You can even make them touch and hold it, and they’re still going to wonder if you’re a few sheep short of a flock.

Admittedly, if you think about it from the non-knitter’s point of view, the statement I play with string for several hours a day and never tire of it does sound as if you’re touched, but that’s because the bare bones of knitting is not all there is. These non-knitters haven’t lived the considerable charms of knitting or, even better than that, gotten themselves a Knitting Lifestyle.

THE SUBTLE PLEASURES OF KNITTING

Non-knitters don’t understand that it all starts with the simplicity of pulling one loop through another (and that at first it ain’t so simple). They don’t understand that there’s the detail of getting the loop to sit on the needle just right, or that you can knit two together, or wrap the yarn and get one more, or, horror of horrors, drop one and sit stunned, afraid that if you so much as breathe the stitch will run all the way down to the start and you’ll never, ever get it picked up again. They don’t know that all of this holds the key to a tiny little world of genius intrigue.

If you find a non-knitter who thinks what you do is clever, beautiful, and artistic; who never asks for knitted stuff but wears it with pride when you give it to him or her; and will help you carry home a whole fleece or a stack of stitch dictionaries without once implying that you might want to get a grip — marry that person.

Non-knitters don’t know what we do, that when we first learn to knit, this sort of thing is exceedingly high drama, that the thrill of getting it right is like skydiving (except, you know, safer), and that the defeat of messing up is as nasty as losing the Boston Marathon by 10 seconds to a guy who didn’t even train. How about trying to tell them about the surprise of discovering that you aren’t knitting what you thought you were? That due to some bizarre and repeated error on your part, you’re making a tube top instead of socks and despite the really big difference between those two items, you cannot, for the life of you, explain why. They don’t understand that knitting is surprising, perplexing, and gripping, as you loop stitch after stitch through each other and make Something.

Pointing out to non-knitters that as far as dorky habits go, running marathons and keeping a stamp collection are at least as pointless as knitting and don’t even keep you warm in winter won’t endear you to them. Furthermore, it doesn’t make them think your knitting habit makes any more sense. Stick to your knitting and say nothing about rock collections or racing plastic boats. (You can think it, though. I would.)

ENDLESS CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES

Once you get the hang of the act of knitting, you get to discover its variations — knitting, purling, decreasing, increasing, cabling, yarn overs, intarsia, Fair Isle, entrelac, Estonian, Latvian … How about twined knitting or … my, the mind reels, and it’s only the beginning. Do you do it left-handed or right? Pick or throw? Use stranding or bobbins? Wool or cotton? Circulars or straights? Use four or five double-pointed needles, or never touch them?

The techniques available to you can take a lifetime to learn and the different ways to make these loops with sticks is engaging, clever, and not at all monotonous. Non-knitters don’t understand that there’s always something left to learn, and trying to tell them that there are so many extremely interesting ways to do something with string is folly. They weren’t interested in the first way to do it, never mind all the ways you’ve read about. Non-knitters usually stop you at this point and tell you that you’re out of your tree. Ignore them. Knitters have it figured out. It is non-knitters (even though they out-number us) who haven’t grasped the magic.

THE SPICE OF LIFE

I used to show yarn to non-knitters to help them understand. The materials we knit with are temptation itself. There’s cotton, silk, and wool, for example, and fiber has come a long way in terms of sophistication. There’s organic hand-dyed cotton, Italian crepe cotton, and Egyptian cotton spun fine for tiny lace caps. The silk could be softly spun, rustic, and slubby, or a floss that’s almost as fine as the silkworm spun it and painted in colors that can break your heart.

If you never leave the house without your knitting, and only a house fire would make you think twice, your knitting hobby may have become a lifestyle.

That longtime standby, our fine friend wool, is no longer a sad itchy wallflower at the fiber ball; she has come into her glory. You can find hand-spun wool that’s reminiscent of the sheep it left, cushy and bouncy, waiting to be warm mittens or a hat. There’s thick bulky wool for cardigans as warm as coats, and merino spun so fine for lace knitting that the name cobweb is really appropriate. Hand-painted, soft spun, cabled, bouclé, self-patterning for socks. The list goes on and on, and we haven’t even touched the world of man-made fibers. Railroad yarn that looks like it sounds, eyelash yarns that flutter fetchingly, hard-wearing acrylics so durable that you could use them to knit tires for trucks. I swear, no matter how your tastes run, your hour is now.

Turn me loose in a yarn shop and I can be at the cash register in four minutes with Shetland for the most traditional of sweaters or sequined rayon fun fur for a thong that a Vegas showgirl would think was over the top. It’s enough to make knitters want to take off their clothes and roll around in their stash, but you can’t tell that to non-knitters either. (Trust me. They don’t understand the urge … not even if you show them cashmere.)

As stunning as it may seem to us, the non-knitters are immune. Completely immune. They can’t understand where we get the time; they can’t understand the compelling and fascinating difference between a 50/50 merino/silk blend and a 10/90 merino/silk blend. They can’t understand yarn as souvenir, yarn as comfort, or knitting as intriguing. They think of knitting as both too simple and too complex. They believe they don’t have time and that we’re wasting our time — that knitting is both so boring they couldn’t be bothered and too complex and difficult for them (but they still want the hand-knit socks).

Knitting and yarn appeal to the senses. A project in the works smells good, feels good, looks good. Never feel bad about wanting it hanging around. Knitting is too beautiful to be clutter. A half-finished shawl left on the coffee table isn’t a mess: It’s an objet d’art.

What non-knitters are missing is the personality-enhancing qualities of knitting. Knitting is a miracle worker. With knitting, people can suddenly do things they couldn’t do before. They can wait in line without becoming impatient. They can sit through a grade-school concert with a smile. They can handle long meetings and lectures, all without bothering other people or pacing around like lunatics. I can think of several times in my own life when knitting kept me from slapping some fool upside the head.

Knitting makes boring people interesting and mundane things intriguing. The only other thing that does that has the disadvantage of giving you a hangover instead of a pair of socks.

It’s okay to be confused when somebody tells you she could never knit because it looks too complicated and (in the same breath) that it’s too boring to be able to stick to it. What she means is that she doesn’t want to take up knitting.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE NON-KNITTER

Non-knitters are, to me, very interesting. … As knitters, it’s good that we spend some time getting to understand their confusing ways.

There are roughly 50 million knitters in North America. I suspect that knitting is a little bit like religion; many are not currently practicing. This would explain why you can always find yourself the only knitter at a cocktail party.

According to my calculations, knitters (past and present) make up about 15 percent of the North American population. That’s astounding when you think about it. It’s enough for a revolution (imagine a world run by knitters?) or a cult. Cults and revolutions often end badly, however, so no matter what you’re thinking, we should probably put it out of our heads. We are still fiercely outnumbered. Considering these odds, it’s also pretty likely that you are going to have to marry/live with/date a non-knitter.

FIVE REASONS WHY PEOPLE DON’T KNIT

Given the multitude of charms that knitting possess, why doesn’t everyone knit? How come the other 85 percent of the world keeps looking at us like … that? A brief and unscientific study (I asked some people) revealed the reasons people say they don’t knit.

Reason 1

I could never do that. I’m completely uncoordinated. Right. Well, that’s an interesting one. Considering that since we’ve invented knitting (sometime in the 14th century) it’s been child labor in many parts of the world, I’ve got to tell you that this one doesn’t hold water. I find it difficult to believe that children all over the world can manage to learn this, no matter how poorly educated or unskilled they are, but a full-grown person who can read, write, drive a car, and work the DVD player is unable to.

Reason 2

I could never do that; I don’t have the patience. I have the attention span of a three-year-old full of chocolate bars at a birthday party, so I’m not buying this one either. Knitting grants patience to those who do it. Ask around. Most knitters will tell you they’re at their most patient with the needles in their hands, and that this practice makes them more tolerant of ordinary setbacks.

Reason 3

I can’t afford it. Nope. Real knitters (the ones who’ve fallen down hard and don’t want to get up) would knit grass with sticks if they ran out of money. There are lots of ways to get by on the cheap.

Reason 4

I’m not smart enough. Knitting, all knitting — every single item — is made up of two stitches, knit and purl. If you’re wearing clothes and you dressed yourself, you’re smart enough to knit. If you’re wearing matching clothes or a coordinating accessory, you’re smart enough to knit well.

Reason 5

I don’t have time. Don’t start with me. We all find the time for what we love to do. Just admit it: You want to cross-stitch instead.

There are many kinds of knitters, and not all of them seem crazy when you look at them. There are knitters who have made their hobby a lifestyle and those who have a moderate, reasonable knitting habit that they engage in some of the time. Both kinds of knitters appear to be happy and (somewhat) well adjusted. Knowing which camp you fall into can help determine whether you should start planning a yarn stash for your old age.

Knitting is endlessly interesting. Knitting lets you turn one thing into another, and better than that, a variety of anothers. A ball of yarn could be anything at all: a hat, a book cover, a bag. For the love of wool, Debbie New knit a boat. (It’s seaworthy, too.) That innocent-looking string could be anything, and it’s all up to the knitter.

IS KNITTING ADDICTIVE?

Many of us have been trying to figure this out for years, but it’s a difficult question. First, yarn and knitting seem to affect different people differently. It could be a matter of genetics, availability, or experience, but not all knitters will end up with behavior that indicates addiction. There do appear to be several levels of yarn, uh,

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  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    An enjoyable book that teaches and provides tips/techniques in a fun way. It has a lot of workable concepts to help build knitting skills. I would not, however, suggest it as a first or introductory book.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Actually funny, in that I would force my family and friends to listen to select passages (which, as non-knitters, they couldn't appreciate, unfortunately!).

    Ms. Pearl-McPhee, whom I met at a recent knitting event, describes this book as her only actually useful book, but her voice is so compelling that I look forward to reading more of her not-truly-useful oeuvre. This is a very easy read, with short essays (technically the right term, but that sounds so dry--they're not!), sidebars, lists, caveats, etc., interspersed with instructions for making things, sometimes as simple as (I'm approximating) "knit to desired width, turn, keep knitting until scarf is desired length." See, knitting patterns don't have to be complicated!

    (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).
  • (5/5)
    hooray for Pearl-Mcphee! best yet!
  • (4/5)
    Humorous "rules" about knitting and knitters. Includes several easy patterns for socks, scarves, and shawls.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book! Loved Stephanie's humour and all the little tips and tricks.
    It was because of this book that I finally took the plunge and learned sock knitting on dpn's. I cast on using sport weight yarn and big needles and followed Stephanie's recipe. I ended up with one huge blue sock, but by god I did it!
    So thanks for that.
  • (4/5)
    I never expected a knitting book to be this funny. It made me laugh out loud a couple of days after something really bad happened in my life. It's that funny (well, it is if you're a knitter)It also has a good simple pattern for a basic sock that I'm pretty sure I will be trying out.
  • (5/5)
    One of the most amusing, resourceful, best knitting reference books ever!
  • (4/5)
    There's a lot of good information in this book - both in the pattern/instruction chapters, and in the first few about knitting in general. I find the author's voice mildly to extremely irritating - way too twee - but I can ignore her assumptions about the addictiveness of knitting (and how anyone who knits but isn't addicted is a poseur of one sort or another) for the utility of the information. I definitely want to knit her basic sock pattern (I've been looking for this!) and probably several others as well, and the descriptions of gauge and yarn are quite useful. I got this because Elizabeth Moon (yes, the author) recommended it - she knits her own socks, and said that she started with McPhee's instructions (and then went off on her own, as you can with a firm foundation).
  • (5/5)
    Her basic sock recipe. I love having it to hand. Will definitely try some of her other patterns.
  • (4/5)
    I am upgrading my rating of this book for the general sock recipe alone, which I have used more times than I think I want to say.
  • (5/5)
    Now I understand why knitters become such ardent fans of Stephanie McPhee! Not only is this book full of sage advice for knitters, it's very funny. I think (admitting to being prejudiced) that even a non-knitter would enjoy this book for its humor. While it's directed at knitters, hoping to help us make our lives a bit easier with suggestion on stash/book/magazine organizing, simple instructions for generic hats, scarves, sweaters, and socks, it's also full of a wealth of practical advice on how to cop with living with a knitter. Figuring out what kind of knitter you are (scientific), and what to do when Things Go Wrong. This was a joy to read and I plan to keep it right by my side, along with the other 457 books about knitting in my collection.
  • (4/5)
    A nice little book about knitting. A number of good suggestions, I especially like her thought on hats. She has any number of good ideas, and reassures a beginning knitter about common mistakes. I think this is a good book to knitters just branching out into projects other than scarves.
  • (5/5)
    Knitting Rules!is a very useful book. After checking it out from the library I had to get a copy for myself. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee covers most of the basics of knitting -- choosing yarn and needles, the importance of gauge and how to knit basic items including hats, socks, shawls, scarves and sweaters. And she does all this with wit and humor that makes the book funny as well as useful. I have found her charts for hats and socks extremely useful as well as her basic pattern formulas. This book does not include stitch directions, but once you know how to knit and purl this book will be very useful.
  • (5/5)
    I love to read Stephanie Pearl McPhee's books and this one is no exception. She approachs knitting and learning how to knit with a sense of humor. She admits to a evergrowing stash and made me feel less guilty about mine (so much smaller). I agree with her that television is the prime time to sneak in some knitting. So often, I have felt my hands idle and all they needs is something to knit or to embrioder. Her book reads like an old friend chatting to you. I have to restrain myself from not buying everything that she had written. For anyone who wants to learn, learn more or who enjoys knitting.
  • (5/5)
    What's not to like? Funny Stephanie, a knitting humorist.
  • (3/5)
    Marvelously witty and entertaining, this book on knitting made me want to take up the needles again. Much practical advice and motivation.
  • (5/5)
    Snort! I toted this book through the house with me putting down my knitting after trying to prop the book open with my jar of needles, various other books and even crochet stitch markers so that I could read and knit.To my husband's horror I muted his t.v. show to read him particularly amusing passages and to my chagrin he didn't quite get it. I realized I'd have to make atonement when I insisted on bring the book to bed with me so that I could just "finish the chapter (aka, sneak in a third when he wasn't looking)." But he was much amused at my amusement, and that counts for something!This book is a must have for Knitters. A perfect cure for the days when its been a frog too many. When that beautiful skein turned out to have one unforgivable knot too many, and when you notice that some how, perhaps through immaculate conception, there is a loose stitch hanging out way down there on the cast on row... approximately 3 feet away from your working needle.
  • (5/5)
    As always Stephanie aka Yarn Harlot is absolutely hilarious and I just can't stop laughing at her book. I love her books and her blog. She is just an amazing knitter and writer and such an inspiration to other knitters.
  • (5/5)
    This is an excellent overview of how to knit all sorts of things without having an official pattern. I love the humour, and the way she encourages people to view a pattern as a suggestion rather than a rule. My only complaint was the "sidebar" type pages which would sometimes interrupt paragraphs in progress - made it kind of tricky to read with lots of flipping back and forth.
  • (5/5)
    This time, Yarn Harlot did a good reference book with lots of recipies for basic knitting projects. Really good and light hearted.
  • (4/5)
    I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's writing style -- very enthusiastic, bordering on slightly insane. This book is full of great basic information on knitting and would be a nice resource for the knitting beginner (if they weren't overwhelmed by her zeal). Stephanie's basic formulae for socks, hats, etc., are also very useful -- if only I had the nerve to make modifications!
  • (5/5)
    Who needs a pattern? After mastering these excellent "recipes" for socks, hats, scarves (who needs a pattern for those???), and shawls, you'll be creating your own patterns! This book taught me how to knit socks :) The author is hilarious!
  • (3/5)
    Funny book with some useful tips for beginning knitters. Best read after you've knit at least one hat and one scarf, but before you've knit full cabled sweaters for your entire extended family.
  • (5/5)
    I got this from Omly as a bookring and really enjoyed it, it was interesting and informative and I want a copy in order to try out some of the things for myself. Full of interesting tips and tricks as accumulated by Stephanie, from her own experience as a knitter. There are a few patterns, but more of the book is occupied by interesting tidbits. It's very matter of fact and a fun read.
  • (3/5)
    Well, if I was only allowed one knitting book on a lonley island, it would probably NOT be this one- but its funny writing style and a lot of not-so-common-tricks and hints makes it a nice addition to every knitting-adict library shelf - and I loooove the "what kind of knitter are you" test in it!
  • (5/5)
    an absolute hoot - plus lots of helpful hints.
  • (5/5)
    Even if you already know most or all of the techniques and tips in this book, read this book just for the witty dialogue. If you need to build a new wing in your home just for your stash, or carry your knitting everywhere, or find yourself talking spontaneously about knitting when it isn't really the topic at hand, read this book.The Yarn Harlot knows exactly how knitters feel about all of the above, and knows how to write about it.
  • (2/5)
    Eh. The last half of the book has useful information. However, spending the first half of the book on "Hey! We knit! Like, a LOT!" jokes is a waste of space, and the endless whining that arithmetic is haaaaaaard sets my teeth on edge.
  • (5/5)
    This is a funny, readable book that combines humor with knitting tips and patterns. The patterns are really more like jumping-off-places rather than full-on patterns, which could be either freeing or frustrating, depending on what kind of knitter you are.
  • (5/5)
    Stephanie Pearl McPhee, better known as the Yarn Harlot on Ravelry has a few things to teach us about knitting. I've seen her in action and marvel at the incredible speed at which she wields her needles. Her sense of humor is priceless and makes this a book that I recommend to fellow knitters regardless of skill level.